Healthy Oatmeal Bites!

As promised, it’s time to celebrate National Heart Month and I have some healthy recipes to share! Today I present to you a quick and easy, healthy snack you can make for yourself and/or loved ones! My oldest son loves these quick little bites, I love them even more because I can get him to eat some healthy things by sneaking them into this recipe!

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So here we go! And we’ve got three products that we enjoy in this recipe! We have McCann’s Irish Oatmeal, Breitsamer Honey and Hachez chocolate! Are you ready? It’s super easy to make and you’ll be enjoying a healthy snack in no time!

 

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Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes (toasted optional)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (or so, I did less) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I used dark chocolate for this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until mixed throughly.
  2. Optional: Chill first in the refrigerator for half an hour, then roll into balls.
  3. OR roll into balls immediately after mixing. (Just a matter of preference, I have no issues rolling these before they are chilled.)
  4. Store in airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

These are quick and simple, and provide some healthy oatmeal power! When forming the balls, you can size them any which way, the ones I had rolled were about 1 inch or so in diameter. By the way, the mini Breitsamer Honey jars are just about perfect for the amount needed for this recipe and work PERFECT! Enjoy!!

The best part, as I say with any recipe, you can tweak this recipe to your own tastes and likes! I like adding the spices in to give these oatmeal bites some more pizzaz! Try them out and adjust them to your preference!

 

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The History of the Cinnamon Star.

It’s a common holiday item that can be seen on store shelves or fresh out of the oven in kitchens. Have you ever wondered what is the cinnamon star, also known as zimtsterne in German, all about? And did you know at one point cinnamon stars were considered illegal in Germany? And speaking of “points”, the traditional cinnamon star has 6 points! Let’s dig into the history of the cinnamon star!

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The cinnamon star arrives during the Christmas holiday season and is offered during the Advent season. Made with almonds and cinnamon, these little stars are full of flavor. Back in the 1600s, cinnamon in Europe was expensive and a rare spice and almonds had to be imported. Food items such as these were usually considered reserved for royalty. Since cinnamon and almonds were expensive and scarce, this helps offer a reason as to why these two staples were only enjoyed one time a year at special occasions like Christmas. Traditionally these zimtsternes are baked before Advent, stored and shared during the holiday season. (Source: The Spruce)

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And so what is this about cinnamon stars being illegal in Germany? I stumbled upon this NPR archive when searching for the history of cinnamon stars. Well, back in 2006, a scientist in a government food safety lab smelled something strange. The scent was bitter and strong and it turned out to be coumarin.

Medical Definition of coumarin: a toxic white crystalline lactone C9H6O2 with an odor of new-mown hay found in plants or made synthetically and used especially in perfumery and as the parent compound in various anticoagulant agents (as warfarin); also : a derivative of this compound (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online)

Coumarin found in cinnamon can have a toxic effect on the human liver. The scientist at the government food safety lab found coumarin levels up to 40 times higher than what is traditionally allowed. By the time it was discovered how much coumarin was in the Christmas cookie, many of them were already packaged and placed upon store shelves waiting to be purchased. Officials hemmed and hawed on what to do about the situation and in the end decided to alert consumers not to eat too many or too much of any food with cinnamon in it. You can bet that political lobbyists have had their way and sway within the German government. Coumarin levels in German food was supposed to drop to legal levels after that particular holiday season. Rest assured, cinnamon stars are no longer illegal in Germany, but what an interesting turn of events that happened just over 10 years ago! (Source: National Public Radio)

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Take it from me, and my little elves, we all agree that the cinnamon stars are delicious and we promise not to eat too many at one time! As most traditional treats I’ve been posting about this holiday season, these cinnamon stars are delish with coffee or tea! These specific cinnamon stars are made by Wicklein.

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German Holiday Tradition.

When you are given the opportunity to soak a sugar cone in 151 proof rum and then light it on fire, you do not object! That is, unless you are afraid of fire and flames! But I am the type of person who enjoys a little adventure, as long as some safety precautions are put in place, and maybe a fire extinguisher is close at hand…!

 

But what the heck am I talking about? Well, let’s talk about the Feuerzangenbowle. Loose translation: fire punch (fire tongs punch)! Oftentimes a part of New Year’s Eve celebrations or Christmas gatherings, Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drips into mulled wine.

Please be sure if you do prepare this, that you use the correct fire-proof punch bowl, tongs and take safety precautions! We did a little improvisation with our “punch bowl”, however, we had precautions in place and took care of how we proceeded with this recipe.

 

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To further enhance this experience, we did create a video for you!

Feuerzangenbowle Recipe (from GermanDeli.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bottles of Merlot or Burgundy win (a dry red white might be too bitter)
  • 4 thin slices of orange
  • 4 thin slices of lemon
  • Juice of 2 fresh oranges
  • Juice of 2 fresh lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon rind
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 sugar cone a.k.a. Zuckerhut, or sugar-loaf
  • 1 cup (approximately) of Rum (must be 151 proof rum or it won’t flame)

Equipment Needed:

  • 1 heat and flame-proof punch bowl (ideally glass)
  • 1 stainless steel bridge, if not already part of your punch bowl set
  • Long match or lighter

Directions:

  1. In a large pot add both bottles of wine and all the ingredients except the sugar cone and the rum.
  2. Simmer the wine and fruit and spices over low heat for about 15 minutes. DO NOT BOIL the wine. Wine should be hot, but not scalding.
  3. IF you are using flame/heat-proof glass punch bowl, carefully add the hot wine (with fruit, cinnamon, etc.) to the punch bowl.
  4. As guests gather around, place punch bowl or pot in a dimly lit room. Light the candle below the punch bowl to help keep the wine warm.
  5. IF you are NOT using the punchbowl, leave the pot on the stove on low heat.
  6. Place the stainless steel bridge across the top of punch bowl or pot.
  7. Unwrap the sugar cone and place it on the bridge. Slowly pour the 151-proof rum onto the cone, rotating the cone until it is soaked with the rum.
  8. Light the sugar cone with a match or lighter. The sugar cone will dissolve as the burning rum heats up the cone. The carmelized sugar will drop into the punch to sweeten it and the rum will enhance the flavor.

And that is the basic recipe and preparation for this fun and toasty tradition! This recipe was taken from our friends at GermanDeli.com. We love the video GermanDeli.com has made, and we thought we would try it ourselves in our own unique way! Thank you for being inspiration!

It was my mother’s 70th birthday celebration and we enjoyed creating this fun and festive vibe for her. Although she had Latvian parents, my mother was born in Nürnberg, Germany. We thought it would be fitting to have a little German tradition for her this evening!

Homemade Granola Made with Raw Honey.

Making your own granola is super easy! Not only that, but I would say it’s pretty healthy compared to other store-bought items that are in your cupboard. Granola is handy to have and tastes great on top of yogurt, cereal, oatmeal and more! This recipe that I am going to share with you has been tweaked and modified from the original homemade granola recipe found here. The original recipe was double in size, I cut it down to half and adjusted from there. The beauty of granola and making homemade snacks and treats is that you can modify and adjust to your own liking. And that is what I did for today’s recipe using Breitsamer Rapsflower Blossom Raw Honey from Germany.

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When I opened the jar of honey, the texture and the color of the honey were really unique and silky? Sounds weird, but silky is how I would describe the honey! You can see from the jar near the top and towards the bottom of the label how it looks like it spins within itself in the jar. It’s silly, but it’s really pretty! And it has an amazing flavor!

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I made this recipe several years ago and I really enjoy it. I LOVE putting the granola on top of ice cream – especially a French Vanilla or Vanilla Bean flavored ice cream. It’s so delicious! You could even add some hot fudge and/or caramel sauce as well!

Homemade Granola Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup extra fine almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Breitsamer Rapsflower Blossom Raw Honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Combine oats, shredded coconut, almond flour, spices and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. In a saucepan, heat raw honey, coconut oil and vanilla until melted and warm.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and mix well.
  5. Spread evenly onto a cookie sheet or oven safe casserole dish (like I did). Press the granola down onto cookie sheet or into casserole dish with the back of a spoon. The more you press down on the granola, the more clump like it will become and stick together.
  6. Bake for approximately 40 minutes, mixing and stirring the granola half way through cooking time. (I like my granola a bit toasty with the coconut – so I added a few extra minutes, adjust cooking time to your preference.)
  7. Remove from oven and cool in the pan or casserole dish.
  8. Granola will harden and become more granola like the longer it sits.
  9. Store in an airtight glass container.

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Time to Bake Hearty Muesli Applesauce Muffins!

You wouldn’t realize it if you lived here in Michigan with us, but fall has begun! The temperature here has been rocking over 90℉ for the past several days, with some relief in sight later this week! Some school districts in the area even had half days since last Friday, since some do not have air conditioning and classroom temperatures were soaring over 100℉. But… what better way to start the fall season with a hearty muesli muffin made with applesauce?! One of our Gourmet Kitchen Guru’s made this recipe for us over the weekend and shared with the team! It’s delicious! I had one myself this afternoon! Please enjoy the following recipe using Familia Swiss Muesli.

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If you try this recipe, please let us know how your muffins turned out! ENJOY!

Familia Muesli Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Familia No Sugar Added Muesli
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (we used wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (Szeged, of course!)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (we used Lorann Tahitian Vanilla Double Strength)

Steps:

  1. Mix dry ingredients into large bowl.
  2. Mix applesauce, milk, oil, egg and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  3. Add applesauce mixture to dry ingredients and mix until moistened.
  4. Spray muffin cups with non-stick spray or line with muffin liners.
  5. Bake 14-17 minutes at 400℉.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

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